I am so thrilled to have my sister as a special guest on Scout & Nimble, today. Anyone that knows my sister, knows the girl can dress. I rarely see her in the same outfit twice…seriously…I’m not exaggerating. And the crazy thing is she hardly ever goes out and buys clothes for herself! Are you wondering if my sister is a magician? Well, she isn’t…but she is definitely talented in the style department. She has such a way of pairing pieces together in unexpected ways. Her closet is small, ya’ll, but it is full of basic pieces that she can mix and match to create endless options that never look the same. Even her “dress down” clothes are adorable & still just as comfy as most people’s sweats and t-shirts. The only difference is when she is out at the grocery store in her “dress downs”, she doesn’t have to apologize to the friend she runs into for looking a mess! So, I asked her if she would mind sharing with Scout & Nimble her Spring must haves and essentials and how she recommends tackling the overwhelming project of cleaning out your closet. This is what she had to say…so many great tips! Thank you so much, Sarah!
Sarah with her wonderful husband, David
Hi, my name is Sarah, and I want to start by saying- I do not have all the answers…I just have some tips that work for me and since Jesse is my sister (and she tends to shop in my closet) she wants me to share. Oh, and I am also a mother of two kids under 4, so I need outfits that are fast, can handle a stain, and fit within the budget that my sweet husband and I are on. So, I have narrowed down my top 5 Spring essentials to these basic things.
1. The Maxi Dress
First things first, if you do not own a maxi dress, go get one stat. This will be something you can wear all year long. The Gap has a great one called the “gathered maxi dress” that comes in five different colors that is currently on sale for just about $50. It’s rayon jersey which is perfect with flip flops and “possibly” washed hair (remember, I am a mom of 2). You can dress it up with tons of gold jewelry, a gladiator sandal or a metallic heel and it works for evening as well. Throw a button down shirt over it and belt the middle (I steal my husbands belts for this look) with a ballet flat and you are good to go for Fall. For the winter months, grab a riding boot, a cable knit sweater and have a serious Ralph Lauren moment. This will wind up being your “go to” dress.
2. The White Pant/Jeans
White jeans are the best, but MAN people are afraid of the glory that is the white jean. Listen, go to Old Navy they have every size and shape of white jean and find the one that works with your body shape. Practically everyone looks lovely in a boot cut pant.
Old Navy wont break the bank and they will ease you into what will most certainly become a love affair. If you have kids or tend to attract food when wearing white, just know a little bleach and your good to go. You can hit the grocery in these paired with a black tank and red flip flops, big silver hoops and hair in a bun….perfect movie moment.
For evening, pair them with a striped tee and a black blazer & any color of heel. I am in love with pairing a striped top with an animal print heel, too. I love that look. And take these jeans into fall (cause as long as they aren’t linen you really can wear white all year around). Throw some tall boots with them and a denim button down…perfect for fall.
3. The Black Blazer
Really just get any black blazer. I love my “boyfriend” blazer that I got at the BCBG outlet, but I realize that a baggy style does not work for everyone. H&M has a great selection of blazers at seriously crazy prices.
Another great resource online is Zara. The reason I think this is a must have is because you can throw it over a silk dress and make it immediately more causal or throw it on with skinny jeans and a white tank and you are a bit dressier. It can take the place of every hoodie or cardigan and its equally as comfortable.
4. The absolute 3 essentials: The White Tank, Black Tank, and White Button Down
Let me ask you a question? How many white or black tanks do you own and how many white button downs are hanging in your closet? Everyone needs their perfect three…that’s it. Just three, this can be a quest. Go to Ann Taylor Loft, try and hit the sale rack….it can be life changing. You want a non-ribbed slightly longer tank that has a little micro fiber for fit. You can literally wear these two colors with anything. The same on the white button-down, take the time to find the one that works for you. I say stay away from anything too trendy….a classic white will always be in style.
Here is the same shirt above shown in black…you can see the fit is just perfect.
Ann Taylor Loft also has a great one for under $40, here. Wear it open with leggings and the white or black tank paired with a ballet flat and it’s a comfy, yet, sexy Sunday look. Tuck it in with pin-striped pants and a heel for office wear. I have even been known to steal one of my man’s ties and have a total Annie Hall moment.
5. The Nude Shoe
The nude shoe is my new favorite thing…..it’s a neutral that will not only make your legs look like they go on for days but they work with almost everything. Wear your new white button-down with the white jeans, throw on the blazer and finish off the look with a nude peep toe heel and you are set, my friends. Here is my thought on the finish…go with the matte over the patent leather. The patent nude is a little too trendy whereas the matte is so classic that it will last in the long run. If you are really wanting to do a patent shoe for the extra shine, go with something classic in black. That will never go out of style and the sheen can totally change the whole look of an outfit. Here are a few that I found that are affordable. Click on the “via” to get to the retailer.
If you are not a heel person, you can still pull of this look with a nude ballet flat like this one
Ok, so that is my top 5! A couple side notes:
- Get hoops in gold and silver….they go with everything
- If you are ever in doubt about what you are wearing think to yourself, would anyone think I was going to a costume party as a “cowboy” “hippie” “belly dancer” etc…? If the answer is yes, take a couple things off. You don’t need the hat, belt, boots and rhinestone tank to prove you know how to line dance.
And because my sister is all about tutorials, I thought I would explain how I recommend going through your closet because here is the thing I’ve noticed…most people have too much stuff. Too much stuff to do, too much stuff on our minds, too much stuff to love, collect, be apart of and for sure too much stuff in our closets. I love going through someone’s closet and helping them make sense of the madness.
***Be sure to set aside an afternoon before taking on this project, there is nothing worse then getting interrupted in the middle of this.***
Things you will need:
- 2 large Rubbermaid containers
- trash bags
- hangers (I like to use these, but any hanger will do)
- a good friend who will tell you the truth about whether or not you should be keeping certain clothes (optional)
- Cocktail (optional, but I highly recommend one)
First, take everything out of your closet. EVERYTHING! It is scary, but so worth it. Every piece of clothing is going to be placed in one of 3 piles: the “keep it” pile, the “I love you, but I haven’t worn you or been able to fit into you in a while” pile, and the “I don’t love you anymore or why the hell did I buy you” pile.
The “I don’t love you pile” should go into the trash bag to be donated or sold at a second hand store. The “I love you but haven’t worn you” pile should be placed in Rubbermaid containers, dated and tucked away in your attic or basement. I believe in holding on to stuff for one year and then revisiting it. It can be like Christmas if you fall back in love with any of the items and if it is at all like a nightmare, well, you have more stuff to donate or sell.
On to the keep it pile…..I like to have winter and fall on both ends of the closet and spring & summer in the middle….I find that it lets your eye move easier when you have all your heavy stuff on one side, not to mention it can sometimes be hard to move or see past it.
I also don’t believe color coordinating the entire closet. But do notice if you have a “go to” color, like, for example, if every other thing in your closet is pink, maybe it’s time to try a new color. I have a serious love for stripes, I am drawn to them like a moth to a flame, but I realize a closet full of stripes does not make a wardrobe. I tend to put “like” styles together…that is the best part of the Real Simple hangers they allow you to hang “like things” together in a row so it takes up half the room, but still allows you see them.
Finally, take inventory of what you have and what your closet might be missing….I am a total nerd and I always jot it down somewhere, so the next time I go shopping I can have it fresh in mind what my closet lacks and stay away from any striped items that I might be drawn to.
Well, I think that about covers it! Good luck tackling your closets. It is one of those projects that once you finish it, your whole outlook will change. And considering it is something we look at everyday, I believe it is so important.
Thank you so much, Sarah! I’m thinking you need to come over and help Sam & I with ours, like, pronto…I’ll have the wine waiting 😉
***By the way…for anyone here in Columbia, my sister has started providing the service of helping people go through their closets. She will come in, help you gain a fresh take on your closet by coming up with different outfit combinations and weeding through the stuff that needs to hit the road. She provides this service for men and women and will even help guide you in the right direction for your future shopping trips. I mean, don’t we all wish someone would come in and do that for us!?! If you would like her help (incredibly reasonable), click the “email me” button in the right sidebar.***